Over 50 participants in the 2017 Dhaka Lit Fest and festival alumni have released a statement in support of Myanmar’s Rohingya community, urging the global community “to stand up and support these refugees, and to hold accountable those who have orchestrated the violence leading to this catastrophe.”
Signatories include Pulitzer Prize winner Vijay Seshadri, historian William Dalrymple, writer Nayantara Sahgal and actress Nandana Sen, as well as Syrian poet Adonis, Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton, Booker Prize-winning novelist Ben Okri, playwright David Hare, writer Lionel Shriver, public intellectual Tariq Ali, and Bangladeshi literary icons Syed Manzoorul Islam and Kaiser Haq.
More than 600,000 Muslim Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since late August following a military clearance operation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. There have been calls for democracy champion and Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of her Nobel peace prize for not condemning the military’s actions, which UN officials have said include organised mass rape and other crimes against humanity, and UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres has described as ethnic cleansing. But the military denies these allegations.
The military’s actions puts the Rohingya community “at risk of extinction from their native Arakan province,” the statement says.
Expressing sympathy for Rohingya refugees, the Dhaka Lit Fest said the purpose of its statement was “to keep the news of this unfolding situation at the forefront of global consciousness”. It comes days after the ASEAN grouping failed to make any mention of the Rohingya situation in its concluding statement.
Read the full Dhaka Lit Fest statement below:
Since 26 August 2017, over 600,000 Rohingyas have been exiled into neighboring Bangladesh due to a pre-planned and systematic ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar government and army.
This is one of the largest forced migrations in recent times, and puts the Rohingyas as a community at risk of extinction from their native Arakan province.
The participants in the Dhaka Lit Fest express sympathy for the refugees, and wish to keep the news of this unfolding situation at the forefront of global consciousness.
The Dhaka Lit Fest urges the global community, governing bodies, rights groups, and media to stand up and support these refugees, and to hold accountable those who have orchestrated the violence leading to this catastrophe.
The full list of signatories
Belal Ehsan Baaquie
Kazi Anis Ahmed
Kazi Nabil Ahmed
Nadia Kabir Barb
Syed Badrul Ahsan
Talal Ahmed Chowdhury
Zia Haider Rahman